Horror train crash toll rises

2012-07-13 16:36

Johannesburg - The death toll following a collision between a train and truck in Mpumalanga on Friday has risen to 24, police said.

Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Leonard Hlathi said 24 people were killed and 26 injured in the accident.

"The [truck] driver has been detained," he said.

The man would face murder charges in Tonga Magistrate's Court on Monday.

Netcare 911 spokesperson Jeffrey Wicks said that the truck had been carrying the farm workers on the N4 when it collided with the train at a level crossing between Malelane and Hectorspruit, at 07:00.

Transnet tweeted that the truck was carrying 44 passengers.

"We would like to extend our sincere sympathies and condolences to the families of those whose lives were lost and a speedy recovery to the injured."

Provincial community safety department spokesperson Joseph Mabuza said the train dragged the truck for about 200m, leaving bodies with limbs missing scattered on the ground.

Poor labour practices

The Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) said the coal train had been travelling from Witbank to Maputo.

"No injuries to the train crew or damage to the train or [railway] infrastructure were registered," he said.

Safety inspectors were at the scene.

Congress of SA Trade Unions spokesperson Patrick Craven said the accident was an example of poor labour practices.

"This terrible tragedy exposes once again the scandal of workers being transported in open trucks. In a country where drivers and passengers of cars are legally obliged to wear seatbelts, how can we tolerate workers being transported with absolutely no protection in the event of an accident?"

He called for a full inquiry into the cause of the accident.

Condolences poured in on Friday for the families of the crash victims.

Cabinet spokesperson Jimmy Manyi expressed sadness over the accident.

"One death is one too many. Our prayers and thoughts are with the families of the farm workers."

The Democratic Alliance wished those injured a speedy recovery. Spokesperson Mmusi Maimane said efforts should be redoubled to increase safety at level crossings.

"My colleague in Mpumalanga, DA provincial leader Anthony Benadie, will be taking this matter up in the provincial legislature. Incidents like these should not be happening in South Africa," he said.

  • herman.brummer - 2012-07-13 16:52

    yeah, like the cops or traffic cops are about to staring obeying the law... Why should we?

      maryke.peacock - 2012-07-13 17:15

      'Why should we?'Because it kills and injures innocent people. Have a heart, these are/were people with dependents. Who's little source of income is now gone.

      kimsaiyanprincess.murison - 2012-07-13 17:35

      - Because rules are there to protect everyone. If everyone followed the rules, these accidents wouldn't happen.

      TheAppsMan - 2012-07-13 18:13

      What are you talking about???

      Boer - 2012-07-13 23:41

      How can they hold the farmer responsible???. Bulls#it always trying to put the blame on someone else. The driver is the responsible one no one else.

  • tooka.loosh - 2012-07-13 16:54

    ?? The death toll has risen from 30 (this morning) to 24 (this afternoon) Atrocious reporting

      antin.herinck - 2012-07-13 19:04


  • whoowhoohoo - 2012-07-13 16:58

    I like the new mantra that the ANC fools trot out whenever deaths occur, namely "One death is one too many". Apparently that makes everything allright in their utopian heaven of stealing and maladministration. DO something about the causes of death you fools. A good start would be to start locking up your voting sheep and confiscating the wrecks that they drive.

  • manu.dibango.96 - 2012-07-13 17:02

    Craven has a point here. Transporting people in a truck is highly irresponsible. They should charge the farmer as well. Think about this for a moment. A bus carries about 50 or so sitting passengers. Standing passengers can take the total to 70. Here we have an open truck carrying a bus load of people. That's raw.

      andre.marx - 2012-07-13 17:24

      Boet, what is wrong with traveling in a truck? Some trucks are 24 meters long and can carry 34 tons in cargo. So what is your point? Craven is playing to the masses.

      kimsaiyanprincess.murison - 2012-07-13 17:25

      - No employer is responsible for how the employee gets to work. Seriously.

      manu.dibango.96 - 2012-07-13 17:43

      andre, ok let me help you with this. I stop a bus an take all the passengers out and put them into an open truck. Are the passengers safer in the bus or in the truck? Next, have you ever seen a car rolling with people in it? It's quite surreal sight. People pop out of open windows. Now here we have people in the back of an open truck, and the truck is hit by a train! There must have been 50 people flying on impact. The survivers will have an interesting story to tell (if they remember) My point is people are not cargo and if farmers transport people like cargo then they should take full responsibility when an accident like this happens.

      andre.marx - 2012-07-13 17:57

      I hear you Boet, The army transports people in trucks. The police transport prisoners by truck. SANRAL transports their workers by truck. The garbage guys hang on to the back of a truck when working. This list is endless. And remember .... the above are all goverment employees.

      ianingwe - 2012-07-13 18:07

      The truck was not open it had some form of container on it!

      jan.henning.14 - 2012-07-13 18:34

      So every famer must now buy a bus with seatbelts? Have you ever stopped with a truck on a rural road where pedestrians are? It fills up because there is no public transport system helping them to get to work - and you will not be able to get them off. In your whitchhunt for the farmer, also investigate the MEC for transport for failing to provide public transport.

      jan.vanriebeeck.58 - 2012-07-13 18:56

      @ A.Marx, Humans are not cattle. Every developed country in the World does not allow this carryon. When are People going to accept progress and move on, this stick your feet in the mud and stand your ground no matter how ridiculous the argument is..............well other than entertaining it makes me wonder how many people make it home everyday considering the lack of a cerebral cortex.

      antin.herinck - 2012-07-13 19:10

      @ MAnu, "I stop a bus an take all the passengers out and put them into an open truck" Who are you to do so? And why would adults do what YOU want them to do? Can't they decide on their own mode of transport? OH they are too poor? Well then the authorities must provide adequate transport. The farmer is only helping out. He does not force the people in the truck. They can mos walk.

      jan.vanriebeeck.58 - 2012-07-13 19:24

      Ridiculous, The Farmer is ensuring his investment is profitable by guaranteeing his workforce is at the prescribed location. I assure you the farmer would prefer spending those funds on another batch if it were possible. This is done all over the World by farmers as this is an Industry standard. however these location changes must be completed in the safest possible manner.

  • Jake - 2012-07-13 17:06

    Theses crashes have become a daily occurrence.licences are simply handed out without proper training and driver education.....our attitudes need to shift towards staying alive on the road. So educate yourself, so that the road does not become your death bed....great videos and pics taken from live car cams on the website wwwfatalmovesdotcom......

  • Jake - 2012-07-13 17:09

    Yes, the passengers should never have been carried in this way......but then a few weeks ago we had bus passengers being massacred.our drivers are the PROBLEM......see the free website wwwfatalmovesdotcom for real life pics and bids from incar will be shocked at the driver behavior......wwwwfatalmovesdotcom

      julio.sanfona - 2012-07-13 18:26

      The drivers are only a problem because they know that there is little chance that they will be stopped by the traffic cops, and if they are stopped a small bribe will get them on their way again. This is symptomatic of the wheels coming off our police force like health, education, municipalities, etc. Be careful how you vote in the next election.

  • Cassandra Eileen Olivier - 2012-07-13 18:12

    People always think they can beat the train...what a terrible loss

  • julio.sanfona - 2012-07-13 18:18

    It is amazing how everybody climbs on the bandwagon and, like voltures, try to score some cheap political points out of a dire situation like this one, I am referring to Patrick Craven blaming the poor labour practises and always forgetting to point fingers at the real culprits. If the police forces were not so corrupt and inefficient, and actually policed the roads and pulled drivers off the roads (not to solicit bribes} who are not competent and probably donnot have valid licenses, the carnage on our roads would be a lot less. It is very easy to make a lot of noise about poor labour practises and in the process score some points with the uneducated masses, but it take balls to stand up against the inept partners in government. Come on Patrick grow some cogones.

  • nomvula.mabaso - 2012-07-13 18:30

    Really sad indeed! How can you transport human beings in a container without windows in the first place? Now all this lives are lost because of ignorance » I really feel for the families who lost their loved ones.

  • nomvula.mabaso - 2012-07-13 18:30

    Really sad indeed! How can you transport human beings in a container without windows in the first place? Now all this lives are lost because of ignorance » I really feel for the families who lost their loved ones.

  • nomvula.mabaso - 2012-07-13 18:32

    Really sad indeed! How can you transport human beings in a container without windows in the first place? Now all this lives are lost because of ignorance » I really feel for the families who lost their loved ones.

  • FANNYDNA - 2012-07-13 18:36

    friday the 13th i told on faceboob that i dont love this day...

  • Pearl - 2012-07-13 18:43

    This is so sad. May their souls Rest In Peace. And the truck driver, may he find the best psychologist and support.

  • jan.vanriebeeck.58 - 2012-07-13 18:49

    Utimately it is the Owner of the Business that the Employeed the Driver and supplied the Vehicle whom should be found responsible for the Accident. The vehicle was in a diabolical condition when I last saw it 2 days ago

  • mohapeloa.mohapeloa - 2012-07-13 18:49

    Poor labour practices, bad truck driver judgement, etc. etc. We can all come up with clever reasons for this unfortunate accident until the next Friday 13th, but I stick to my original point: Let govt install "intelligent" boom gates at each level xsing to prevent such accidents in the first place !!! Otherwise we'll continue to play this pointless blame-game forever... May all the lost souls RIP and all the injured recover speedily.

  • Cassandra Eileen Olivier - 2012-07-13 19:04

    They just said on the news now that the driver might not have had a drivers license

      jan.vanriebeeck.58 - 2012-07-13 20:37

      So why does the Owner of the vehicle allow this incompetent person access to the vehicle and task him to transport staff ?? The Farmer should be arrested on this fact alone.

  • michelle.maphanga1 - 2012-07-13 19:13

    Ds is really,really sad!let us not speculate cos we were not there!we are not sure whether the truck driver saw the train coming,yes he might hav heard the hooter but thought it was still far!he needs all the support he can get!let d almighty judge him!after al its friday d 13nt!May their soul rest in peace!

  • zwelakhegeorge.myeza - 2012-07-13 19:58

    I feel for the families of those who lost their lives in this terrible accident.

  • happy.godibo - 2012-07-14 19:55

    This is so painful we send our sencere condolences to all the family tht were involved in this tratedy

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